Archive for September, 2013

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! September 2013 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on September 30, 2013

MMM_LogoWe all have our favorite stores in the Walt Disney World parks and resorts to get our fill of merchandise. Whether it’s World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, Villains in Vogue at DHS, or Everything Pop! at the Pop Century Resort , it’s not that hard finding a gift shop filled to the brim with the latest Disney vinylmation, t-shirts, and plushes. But did you know that there is a place where all the merchandise Disney has a hard time selling ends up? A truly magical store filled with discount prices and bewildering items straight form the House of Mouse? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Disney Outlet Store.

There are actually two Disney outlet stores in Orlando. Both are in Orlando Premium Outlet shopping complexes, and they are called Disney’s Character Warehouse, presumably because The Land Of Misfit Toys was already trademarked. There is one Character Warehouse located on International Drive close to Universal Studios (4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 3281), and the other is on Vineland Avenue, right across I-4 near the exits to Disney World (8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando, FL 3282). Today we are going to look at the location near Disney.


Where wishes are granted, dreams are fulfilled, and prices are slashed.

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MyMagic+ and MagicBand Roll-Out Dates for Walt Disney World Resorts

by on September 30, 2013

Beginning today MyMagic+ is officially rolling out in waves across Walt Disney World Resorts. All guests checking in to resorts on or after the dates listed below will receive MagicBands and have access to the FastPass+ system. Every Monday for the next 4 weeks new resorts will be added. Then when Grand Floridian Villas open on October 23, 2013, all resorts will be fully online with the program. The program will still be considered “testing” for now; think of it as a sort of “soft opening.” The official start date for MyMagic+ is December 1, 2013.

For arrivals on or after:

September 30, 2013: Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, Port Orleans French Quarter, Grand Floridian, and All-Star Movies.

October 7, 2013: All-Star Sports, BoardWalk Inn, BoardWalk Villas, and Caribbean Beach Resort.

October 14, 2013: All-Star Music, Coronado Springs, Old Key West, Wilderness Lodge, and Villas at Wilderness Lodge.

October 21, 2013: Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and Saratoga Springs.

October 23, 2013: Grand Floridian Villas.

Note: Resorts not on the above schedule are already live.

For more information on MyMagic+. Erin Foster has posts with initial observations and her personal experiences. Brian McNichols also wrote about his experience.


Show Your Disney Side

by on September 30, 2013



Each year, Disney has a new “celebration,” as I like to call them. For 2013, the celebration that we have seen in action has been Limited Time Magic. Now, we have a small glimpse into what next year’s is going to be.

Show Your Disney Side invites guests to show off the side of them that really lets them let loose and play. It taps into that happy glow you feel whenever you see and experience something relating to Disney.

This new celebrations invites guests to show off the side of them that comes out the minute you step through the gates where you get all giddy, start acting like a kid again, and you simply delight in the joy of the parks. Disney wants you to bring out the fun in your family!

To get a better glimpse into what “Show Your Disney Side” is, here is a first look at what it means:

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The Disney’s in the Details: Fantasyland Part 1

by on September 30, 2013

Today is the first installment of the epic Fantasyland.  With the expansion this section of the park is now enormous so I decided it was better to break it up into parts rather than limit what I could share.  To begin – has anyone actually seen a Fantasyland sign?  I hunted today and even the one that used to hang when you enter from Liberty Square is missing.  It would seem Cinderella’s Castle is the signal that you are entering this magical land.  Everyone has seen the castle, but have you seen the details?

For starters there are some very royal looking speakers that come in handy for those shows in front of the Castle!


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My Experiences with MyMagic+

by on September 29, 2013

2013-09-16 at 21-26-54A few weeks ago I wrote an article about optimizing your FastPass+ experience using a Touring Plan. Well, I made it there and back again, and I have a mixture of advice, information, and opinions that I’m going to soak you with as if you were in a raft on the Kali River.

In general I was happy about my experience with MyMagic+. The MagicBands themselves were comfortable and easy to wear, although it took me about 4 days to stop looking at my wrist for the time. I haven’t worn a watch regularly in a few years, but you apparently don’t lose that reflex. One thing that surprised me was that both of my kids wore their Bands all week without complaint, even the two year old. Of course, my two year old didn’t actually need a MagicBand since he didn’t have a park ticket, but when I ordered my Bands prior to my trip I called, and Disney agreed to send him his very own accessory to avoid the inevitable screaming. 

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Reasons We Loved Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 23

by on September 28, 2013

The Saturday Six is a weekly look at the most interesting, most fun, and sometimes even the most outrageous things within the theme park world that we all love so much. Whether it’s checking out Hollywood Drive-In Golf in CityWalk, a look a the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or even eating the craziest food items at Universal, the Saturday Six is your personal guide to experiencing the very best Orlando has to offer.

This week’s Saturday Six looks at the Top Six Reasons We Loved Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 23.


“Comedy is simply tragedy happening to somebody else.” (photo courtesy of Gregory Ryan)

# 6 – The Scareactors

The bread and butter of any Halloween Horror Nights experience is walking around the park and interacting with the various scareactors roaming the parks. The enjoyment factor can be even better watching them scare the living daylights out of others. I am really impressed by some of the make-up and costuming effects that the walk around characters have this year. Some really creepy looking zombies make the event feel immersive and frightening. Last year Universal debuted the “zombie horde” concept, and it worked to some degree, but this year just feels scarier.


Pole Dancing, HHN style (photo courtesy of Seth Kubersky)

During my visit, there were several times during the night when a “walker” turned what looked to be a normal guest into a zombie by attacking him. Just fantastic stuff! And at other times the zombies were captured or taken out by citizens of Woodbury (from AMC’s The Walking Dead television show)! I did not see any of this type of storytelling in last year’s HHN event, and this year I loved every second of it.

Among my favorite types of scareactors are the ones who have items stuck in them. Whether it is a sword or a huge steel rod, these zombies have a visual effect that is stunning to behold and truly creepy.


(Photo courtesy of Seth Kubersky)

The “less is more” philosophy can pay off in a big way when it comes to walk around characters. While some do wear masks and/or elaborate costumes (to varying degrees of success), the guys and girls just going around with bits of flesh ripped off their faces or bodies can be the most terrifying. There are also several of the iconic “walkers” from the Walking Dead television show, including the Bicycle Girl from season 1. These are a great touch for fans of the hit TV show and horrifying enough to be more than acceptable to guests who have never heard of The Walking Dead.

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This Week On TouringPlans YouTube Channel: Happy HalloWishes, Snorkeling With Len Testa, and More!

by on September 27, 2013

Every Friday on the TouringPlans Blog we bring you the week’s newest videos from our YouTube channel. Let’s get started!

Enjoy an HD ride through of Walt Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Watch Happy HalloWishes fireworks from the beautiful Polynesian Resort beach.

More videos after the jump.

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Limited Time Magic for October 4 – 6

by on September 27, 2013



For this week’s Limited Time Magic event, during the weekend of October 4-6, guests should head to Downtown Disney at Disneyland or Walt Disney World to experience the color and whimsy of the Downtown Disney Chalk Art Festival.

Talented artists will take to the pavement as their canvas, where guests are able to watch in delight as these talented artists transform the gray concrete into beautiful, vivid art made from chalk.

In addition, at Walt Disney World, guests can stop by the Art of Disney Gallery and meet artist Greg McCullough as he appears for signings. He’ll be at the shop from October 2-6 from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

At Disneyland guests can meet artist Miss Mindy on Friday and Saturday, October 4 and 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in celebration of the release of some new pieces in her collection. In this same location there will also be a special artist showcase of “Haunted Memories” on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

It will be interesting to see what these artists come up with during this exciting weekend!

Great Places For Kids To Eat At Walt Disney World

by on September 27, 2013

Home of more than 100 restaurants, the Walt Disney World Resort is certainly not low on options of places to eat while on vacation. With countless varieties of cuisine, themed locations, and price ranges, however, it can be challenging to narrow down the best of the best – especially if you’re traveling with kids. Aside from the popular character dining meals (check out this recent post by Brian McNichols regarding their value) and the standard “chicken fingers and fries” option at a counter service…what’s a family to do?

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New Details About the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

by on September 26, 2013

Earlier this year, Disney announced that the Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade at Magic Kingdom would be replaced by the upcoming Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. More details have trickled out today via the Disney Parks Blog.

First off, Disney revealed two new parade floats, in addition to the three that had previously been seen (the Mickey and Minnie float, the Tangled float, and the Peter Pan float). These new floats are a Little Mermaid float with Ariel and her Under the Sea friends, as we all as Merida atop a bagpipe alongside a troupe of Scottish dancers. (Look out for her three brothers, too!)















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